5. Special techniques

  • Headers
  • Volleys
  • Defensive techniques
  • Feints
  • Goalkeeping techniques


Headers can be associated with mastery of the ball (juggling and control) and passing/shooting the ball. Heading is an essential skill for defending and marking. 


This involves directly striking an aerial ball, without any prior control:

  • before it touches the ground (volley);
  • just as it touches the ground (half-volley). 

Defensive techniques

  • Dispossessing an individual opponent of the ball
  • Winning the ball when it is in the possession of the opposing team (interception)
  • Challenging an opponent for the ball within the limits allowed by the Laws of the Game (defensive duel)

It is essential for a player to learn not to throw him/herself into a tackle and to defend standing up. 


A feint can be performed with or without the ball, depending on the situation of play. When a player is facing an opponent during a dribble, a feint is a useful skill to bypass the opponent with the ball. When a player is not in possession of the ball, a feint is useful to gain an advantage in a position, and to lose the mark of an opponent as well.

Goalkeeping techniques

The goalkeeper

The goalkeeper’s role is to prevent the ball from entering his/ her goal. The goalkeeper is the only player in the team who is allowed to handle the ball, but only in the area around the goal known as the penalty area. The goalkeeper’s special training is a long-term process which starts in childhood and only ends when the goalkeeper finally retires. This training goes through certain stages:

  • first steps in goalkeeping
  • learning the goalkeeper’s techniques
  • developing the goalkeeper’s essential physical qualities
  • acquiring mental strength



Basic goalkeeping techniques 6-10 years old
Basic goalkeeping techniques – 11-12 years old

Technical preparation

  • first contact with the ball, first experience “in goal”
  • gradually learning the goalkeeper’s techniques
  • introduction to playing the ball with the feet  

Physical preparation

  • physical qualities (stamina, speed, coordination, suppleness, etc.) 
    are developed through different games  

Psychological preparation

  • respecting the coach-educator, team-mates, opponents and referee
  • learning to be “alone”
  • making the goal the “castle” to be defended
  • developing the courage (not to be afraid of the ball)  

Technical preparation

  • continuing improvement of the acquired techniques
  • moving on to the “big pitch” and the “big goal”
  • working on high balls
  • improving playing the ball with feet
  • understanding the goalkeeper’s role in the team
  • increasing the difficulty of the situations encountered   

Physical preparation

  • the development of specific physical qualities (stamina, speed, suppleness, relaxation) by means of special exercises
  • coordination exercises, both with and without the ball  

Psychological preparation

  • making the right decisions, taking command
  • retaining self-control and staying calm
  • maintaining concentration
  • making the goal his/her territory 

Technical preparation for goalkeepers


  • initial positioning
  • movement
  • regaining position

The goalkeeper’s interventions

  • catching the ball (on the ground, medium height, high, from a rebound, etc.)
  • the various dives
  • high balls
  • one-on-ones
  • reflex stops (reaction speed)

Returning the ball to play

  • clearances with the feet (along the ground, volley, half-volley)
  • throw-outs
  • returning the ball to play after a back-pass from a team-mate

Free kicks

  • positioning the wall
  • knowing the goalkeeper’s position
  • using communication